I know, you didn’t ask for it, but I’m back with another (mini) mock draft. After watching two trades go down on Friday, with the 49ers jumping from No. 12 to No. 3 and the Dolphins moving back to No. 12 before jumping up to No. 6 in a trade with the Eagles, the opening 12 picks of the draft just experienced a massive shake-up. So I jumped back in the mock drafting seat and gave you an updated look at what I think the new top 12 picks could look like following a pair of blockbuster trades.
Reminder: this mock draft, like my 32-team mock draft from Wednesday, is a prediction of what I think will or could happen, not a statement on what I would do as the GM of any of these teams.
Table of Contents
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence
No change here. This pick has been locked in for months.
2. New York Jets – BYU QB Zach Wilson
You might not care about QBs’ pro days at all (I don’t really either), but Wilson’s was reportedly awesome, and I think he was the Jets’ pick at No. 2 even before that.
3. San Francisco 49ers – North Dakota State QB Trey Lance
I’m just reading between the lines here, but people in-the-know seem to be gravitating heavily toward Trey Lance to the 49ers at No. 3. Lance is a difficult evaluation, as he only started for one year in a run-heavy offense at North Dakota State against lower level competition, then played just one game in 2020 due to COVID-19 (in which he struggled). But the 49ers play-action heavy offense could be a great fit for Lance, who gives them a rushing element with his legs that Kyle Shanahan has not had in his last few stops. The ceiling is sky-high as a passer too.
San Francisco is also reportedly hanging onto Jimmy Garoppolo with the expectation that he will start for at least the upcoming season, which gives them time to bring Lance along before throwing him to the fire.
I still think there is a great chance that Atlanta trades down from No. 4, but the question is who will come up? Detroit seems to be accepting of the fact that most of the top QBs will be gone by the time they pick. Carolina would love to come up, but is Atlanta going to help a division rival? I don’t think the Falcons are quite as committed to rebuilding as everyone seems to think they should be, even if they move back.
Adding Pitts would be a monster move to keep their offensive weaponry among the best in the league. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, Hayden Hurst and Pitts would be an impossible collection of skill players to stop, even if Jones is on the decline. If the Falcons stay put, Pitts is the game-changer I would expect them to target.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase
The Bengals could gravitate toward Penei Sewell at No. 5, but I think the addition of Riley Reiff in free agency and the solid 2020 campaign by Jonah Williams could cause them to opt for more weapons in the passing game. Reuniting Chase with Joe Burrow just makes too much sense, as the two had elite chemistry during that magical 2019 season at LSU. Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon would give the Bengals all the weapons they need, and allow them to use day 2 and day 3 of the draft to fortify the interior offensive line.
6. Miami Dolphins – Oregon OT Penei Sewell
The Dolphins could easily prioritize another weapon for Tua Tagovailoa, but I think they’ll continue to rebuild their offensive line, an effort which began in earnest in last year’s draft. Sewell could play left tackle, Austin Jackson would move to right tackle and Robert Hunt would slide inside to guard. It could be a move that makes three positions better, if Miami believes Jackson could make the switch to the right side.
7. Detroit Lions – Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
I still think the Lions gravitate toward Waddle, as that offense is in desperate need of an explosive weapon that they can rely on in the passing game. Waddle’s ability to play inside and outside while making an impact in the quick game or down the field will make life a lot easier for whoever ends up at quarterback long term in Detroit.
8. Carolina Panthers – Ohio State QB Justin Fields
Carolina might not be able to sit at No. 8 and land Fields, but I didn’t want to throw any more trade scenarios out there in this mock draft. Fields might end up as the best quarterback in this class, and he’ll have a great offensive coordinator for his first year in the NFL with Joe Brady holding the reins for Carolina. The Panthers have been desperate to land a quarterback this offseason, so a move for Sam Darnold before the draft isn’t out of the question either.
9. Denver Broncos – Alabama QB Mac Jones
If Denver were smart, they would be aggressive to move up in the draft, to No. 4 or No. 5, in order to land one of the top four quarterbacks in the class. But I could also see them falling in love with Mac Jones, who improved his stock a ton this past season at Alabama. Jones is athletically and physically limited to a degree, but he’s still capable in those areas, and throws with excellent accuracy and timing from the pocket. I think he’s a better prospect than Drew Lock because he plays with more consistency and poise. The question is how high Jones’ ceiling can be in the NFL, and if he’ll ever be the type of quarterback to get a team to the promised land.
10. Dallas Cowboys – South Carolina Jaycee Horn
The Cowboys added one aggressive cornerback in last year’s draft in Trevon Diggs, then added two physical defensive backs in Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee this offseason. It appears Dallas is fully aware how soft they played defensively last season, and desperately want to change that mentality moving forward. Horn isn’t Jalen Ramsey as a prospect, but in many ways he feels like an opportunity for Dallas to make up for passing on the Rams’ cornerback to select Ezekiel Elliott years ago. Horn will add a mental edge to the Cowboys secondary that it currently lacks, while also giving them a potential shutdown cornerback to pair with the budding Diggs moving forward.
11. New York Giants – Northwestern OL Rashawn Slater
A lot of people think that the Giants will target a wide receiver, but I’m not so sure they will. Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepard are now under contract long term, and the Giants clearly love what they’ve seen from Darius Slayton as their other outside receiver. In a deep wide receiver class, it would surprise me if Dave Gettleman went with a pass catcher early in the draft. They’ve also spent a ton of resources on their secondary, so I doubt we see a cornerback selected at No. 11 either.
The Giants could be a trade down candidate, especially if they feel great about their current starting lineup. I could also see them fall in love with the physicality and zone scheme fit of Slater, who would play inside at guard for the Giants. Linebacker Micah Parsons would be an ideal fit too, but his character concerns could scare off a GM like Gettleman and a head coach like Joe Judge.
12. Philadelphia Eagles – Alabama CB Patrick Surtain
Many will want the Eagles to pick up Alabama WR Devonta Smith with this mock draft pick, but I think it’ll be another Crimson Tide player who attracts the Philadelphia brass. Surtain is a versatile cover corner who can play inside and outside and has experience in a variety of schemes from his time in Nick Saban’s defense. Darius Slay and Surtain would finally return great cornerback play to Philly after a long hiatus.